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Minetta Tavern

About this listing

Italian restaurant in the Village since 1937

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Greenwich Village
Commercial, Food & Drink

Place Matters Profile

Minetta Tavern, serving Northern Italian cuisine, is one of Greenwich Villages oldest restaurants, established in 1937, on the heels, some say of a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The restaurant took its name from the small stream that once ran through the area, and the first owner Eddie Silieri took his name from the restaurant--becoming known as "Eddie Minetta" because he owned the joint for so long.

In 1995 Taka Becovich, from Montenegro, Albania, bought Minetta from its second owner, a fellow Albanian. With shared national borders and similarities in cuisines, Becavich says its not uncommon for Albanians to own Italian restaurants, especially in Greenwich Village and Little Italy.

White tablecloths in the dining room, walls covered with celebrity photos, and the original 1937 bar decorated with exquisite black and white papercuts by a long-ago German artist give the restaurant its distinctive appearance. Illustrious New Yorkers continue to sit at the bar.


Nominations

Bob Holman

Populist poet and Village character Joe Gould used to trade a poem for two martinis at this historic tavern. He is remembered here by the portrait, the martinis and the slow dust of myth.



Jonathan Sanoff

This landmark Village bar and restaurant was founded in 1937, and immortalized in the great New Yorker magazine writer Joseph Mitchells non-fiction masterpiece, "Joe Goulds Secret," as the favored saloon of eccentric poet and "Bohemian" Joe Gould, who towards the end of his life earned drinks and trifling sums from bar customers as the Taverns "philosopher in residence."

The interiors are fully intact period pieces, without modern alteration. The front barroom is typically dark and wood-paneled and decorated with graphic portraits of Gould and other Village characters. The back restaurant is decorated with astonishing painted murals of Village street scenes. There are photographs of famous patrons throughout. One step inside and anyone of discernment will immediately recognize that they have entered a time capsule of New York as it existed 50-60 years ago. The interior is on par with The Old Town Bar & Grill, Fanellis, The Lenox Lounge or any other of the notable vintage New York bar/restaurant landmarks.

The physical details of the wood paneling, the murals, the bar and bar back, all of the details of the perfectly preserved interiors matter because without them there a record of New York City as it was 50-60 years ago would be lost entirely. This is a very precious place, and indeed one of kind in New York literary history as well as interior decoration. (Feb. 2005)


Website : https://placematters.net/node/1353

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